The Purple People
I find printmaking so exciting as it offers me the opportunity to produce a variety of textures and creative marks. I try to exploit the wonderful qualities that each printmaking technique brings to my work by experimentation, and the manipulation of contemporary and traditional printmaking techniques. This can sometimes give me surprising results that I can work with creatively!
The images may be figurative, including the human form and portraits, landscapes (sea and cityscapes), or animals and plants. I am currently working on a commission for CityUK, creating a final piece which incorporates linocut and mixed media images of iconic, worldwide cityscapes. My work is inspired by my childhood on the Kent Coast and living now in rural Cambridgeshire, as well as my passionate interest in biological sciences and architecture. My art sometimes borders on the abstract, and the focus of the work may be on the texture and mark making and its relationship with the subject matter.
As a professional oil my knowledge of Printmaking was sketchy. I decided to study at The Curwen Print Study Centre to improve my awareness. At first I found it overwhelming as I realised that I knew very little and I also found it challenging to work alongside other people again as I was used to working alone in my studio. Now, however, I love both Printmaking and working alongside the four other Purple Printmakers.
While I enjoy etching and screen printing I have recently been working on solar plate printing and this is where I feel most at home. I am currently working on a solar plate commission with images based around Cambridge City. My prints can also be viewed, along with oil paintings and printed cards at Over Gallery.
I first discovered printmaking while studying for my BA in Fashion and Textile Design at Nottingham Trent. More recently I have been concentrating on a more painterly approach and have been studying works by Kurt Jackson, Barbara Rae and Norman Ackroyd.
My inspiration comes from walking and sketching in the Hertfordshire countryside and the dramatic landscape of the west coast of Scotland. At the moment I am experimenting with combining the subtle atmospheric etching marks created by spit bite etching, inspired by Norman Ackroyd, with the flat block shapes created by using a lino plate.
I combine my love of Fine Art Printmaking with my other great passion - teaching. I teach art workshops where I thoroughly enjoy passing on my enthusiasm for learning new art techniques and disciplines to my students.
My interest in printmaking was sparked while I completed an art foundation course back in 2000. I fully intended to undertake a printmaking degree but somehow two young daughters managed to put that on hold for a while. Now they’re grown up, it’s my turn again!
Over the last few years I’ve helped run White House Arts, which has involved organising (and participating in) a wide variety of art courses. I am also a school Art Technician so I am surrounded by exciting creativity.
I love the intricacy and uniqueness of patterns and shapes in nature. In New Zealand I was enchanted by ferns and fronds; in Madagascar lemurs and chameleons caught my imagination, and closer to home, as a rower, I’m fascinated by the shapes and images of the river Cam. I’ve recently produced a series of etchings based on the rowing Bumps Races.
Printmaking gives me a buzz because it gives me the opportunity to combine my creative streak with a love of practical experimentation fostered during my career as a scientist and teacher. I love that moment when you take the first pull off a new plate!
My inspiration comes from a lifelong love of the natural world and my experiences working as an ecologist in particular. Many of my prints feature species I helped conserve or have observed in the wild, or habitats I have worked in. I am interested in creating prints rooted in landscapes that are meaningful to me and I'm also very excited by patterns and textures in nature. I like painterly prints and sometimes my work can lean towards the abstract.
Reduction linocutting is one of my favourite methods as I like the element of danger! I love the experimental nature of monoprinting and the freedom it gives me and also the amazing textures you can print from humble materials when printing with collographs.
My print heroes are Norman Ackroyd for his atmospheric effects, Brenda Harthill for her amazing textured collographs, Angie Lewin for her skill in cutting lino and layering colour and John Piper for just about everything!